HIV-1 western blot assay: What determines an indeterminate status?

Iqbal Syed, P. Balakrishnan, Sunil Solomon, K. Murugavel, N. Kumarasamy, S. Vidya, S. Martin, S. Thyagarajan, Kenneth Mayer, S. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: The Western blot assay is the gold standard for the detection of antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus type1 (HIV-1). However, indeterminate Western blot reactivity to HIV-1 proteins may occur in individuals, who may not be infected with HIV. Aim: This retrospective study was aimed to determine the diagnostic value of the interpretation criteria in relation to commercial kits for HIV -1 diagnosis. Methods and Materials: A total of 556 serum/plasma specimens collected from high-risk population attending our HIV clinic from 2000 - 2004 were tested by three different western blot kits: NEW LAV BLOT I (n=244), HIV BLOT 2.2; (n=112), Genetic Systems HIV-1 (n=237). And the results of western blot strips were analyzed using the various interpretation criteria: WHO/NACO, CDC/ ASTPHLD, ARC, FDA, CRSS and JHU. Some specimens were run on more than one kit. RT-PCR assay was performed on 5 specimens, which were indeterminate with LAV BLOT I. Results: The discrepancy in LAV BLOT I positive results were between 157(64)-176(72), and indeterminate results were between 44(18) to 63(25). No such variations were observed in genetic systems. There are some HIV negative (by PCR) specimens were indeterminate in LAV BLOT I revealing the kit more sensitive and less effective for diagnostic purpose. Conclusion: The genetic systems kit is superior to other kits we analyzed and its results are concordant with HIV-1 PCR results. To report, the choice of western blot commercial kit is paramount important than the use of particular interpretation criteria for the diagnosis of HIV -1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalIndian Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV diagnosis
  • Indeterminate
  • Interpretation criteria
  • Western blot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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